Business English small talk phrases

Tips for Business English small talk

At meetings and events, we need a good level of business English to listen to or make presentations and take part in discussions. You may also need to speak to colleagues or clients in the breaks before and after the official talks. This usually involves small talk and here are some ideas to make it more natural.

We provide prompt cards for eight different topics to help you with small talk conversations in English at business events or at work. 

You can also use these cards to practise speaking English with colleagues or an take an English course with an English trainer in Munich (or online) to prepare for your next business event.

Business English small talk cards

Each of our Business English small talk cards is divided into five useful stages and provides phrases and expressions for each part of the conversation:

  • Start the conversation
  • Choose a topic
  • Listen and respond
  • Ask others in the group
  • Close the conversation

Try to remember a few business English small talk expressions and questions for each stage. Then you can use these for future business events, but try to mix it up if you always meet the same people!

Business English small talk topics

We recommend the following topics for small talk because they will be suitable in most situations. These topics cover

  1. Work and location
  2. Transport for work
  3. Work in general
  4. Weather
  5. Free time, Hobbies, Sport
  6. Holidays
  7. Food and drinks
  8. Education and training

Topic 1: Work & location

It is always safe to ask questions about where you work and for how long you have been at a company. 

Topic 2: Transport for work

You can also ask about how people get to work and make comparisons with your own experiences. 

Topic 3: Work in general

It is also possible to find out more information about someone's position.

Topic 4: Weather

We can all talk about the weather!

Topic 5: Free time, Hobbies, Sport

You can also ask questions about what others do in their free time and find things you have in common.

Topic 6: Holidays

Asking about and sharing holiday experiences can be a great way to break the ice.

Topic 7: Food and drinks

You might have drinks and snacks before and after meetings, so you can find out more about preferences.

Topic 8: Education and training

At business events, you often meet people from the same industry and can compare notes on education experiences.